Effectively Using Light in your Photography

Minneapolis and its twin sister, the state capital of St. Paul, make up the 15th largest metropolitan region in the United States. Because of its location in the center of North America, the area receives more sunlight hours in mid-winter than many other warmer parts of the country. And for the printing companies in Minneapolis, more sunlight hours means a year-round help to photographers.

Methods of Lighting

For the many photographers in the Twin Cities, the diverse ways of catching the light can be reduced to four main examples: back lighting, side lighting, diffused lighting, and artificial lighting. From the power of full sun over water to the beam from a single candle, it is light that photographers play with, light in its many moods and manifestations that we capture on film.

Back Lighting

Back lighting is light that comes from behind your subject. The Metering Mode on your camera determines the lighting conditions, and your digital camera’s “brain” then determines the best shutter speed and aperture that should be used to create the type of picture you want. When you want to capture a silhouette, use matrix metering.

Side Lighting

In side lighting, part of your subject will be in light and part shadows. To produce a dramatic effect on your photos, use photography lighting from the side. In order to achieve this type of dramatic impact, pose your subject in front of a window, with one of their shoulders facing the camera. Your camera will expose properly for the bright side and will cast the other side in shadows

Diffused Lighting

Sometimes, the best thing to know about lighting is when to NOT TAKE A PICTURE. Sometimes, the available light is just going to be too harsh. That is when you want to soften the incoming light and reduce some of the contrast for a more pleasing photograph.

The best time of day to take pictures is when it is slightly overcast, or when the sun goes behind a cloud. The same effect can also be created when your subject is in the shade. In that case, the light will be much more natural and will result in a better photo.

Artificial Lighting

Artificial lighting is anything that is not natural outdoor light. The most common types of artificial light result from your built-in camera flash, or indoor lighting.


When using indoor lights, make sure to adjust your camera’s white balance.

An easy way to help in avoiding this is to direct the subject to look slightly away from the camera.

To correctly photograph subjects farther away than 15 feet, you’ll need to use an external, more powerful flash unit.

In looking for the best printing company services in Minneapolis, study examples of each company’s products to see how well they reflect how each applies the four types of lighting described above. In a city of nearly 400,000 inhabitants, you are very likely to find many such examples.